Kumoricon 2015

One of the many gorgeous cosplayers on a warm and rainy Vancouver day in September.
One of the many gorgeous cosplayers on a warm and rainy Vancouver day in September.

Today I noticed the Kumoricon folder in my September photos on my computer and realized you haven’t seen these great photos yet.  My deepest apologies.

Without further ado: Kumoricon 2015

A trio of unnatural blondes
A trio of unnatural blondes
Isn't she perfect?
Isn’t she perfect? Like a porcelain statue.
Imagine the time it took to make this one.
Imagine the time it took to make this one.
The rain did not dampen spirits.
The rain did not dampen spirits.
These girls exemplify Kumoricon for me and I just love this photo. Pink hair, attitude, and most of all: FUN!
These girls exemplify Kumoricon for me and I just love this photo. Pink hair, attitude, and most of all: FUN!
Lucky shot. I spotted this person right as they spotted a friend, and the two jumped into the air with happiness and ran to each other for a hug.
Lucky shot. I spotted this person right as they spotted a friend, and the two jumped into the air with happiness and ran to each other for a hug.

Long time readers will be familiar with our annual foray into bringing anime alive through cosplay (costume play). As in years past, the characters selected do not stay within the anime realm alone, but cover any kind of popular thing that can be found online or in print. Well…one guy came as an enormous raindrop, so really, come as you are.

Kumoricon is the name of the three-day anime convention that is held each year in Vancouver, Washington over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Once again the gathering has grown too large for the venue, and the 2016 convention is destined for the Convention Center in Portland. Tara has been going every year as a participant, and I go to see how many fabulous characters I can photograph.

I am terrible at recognizing which characters are being represented, but Tara is a pro. I showed Tara one of my photos, and they said: “Oh that’s Pacha’s wife. You know, from Emperor’s New Groove.” I have watched that movie two dozen times and did not realize that’s who I was looking at. And when I looked, I saw she had done a remarkable job with the costume, and was perfect for it, since the woman I photographed was heavily pregnant, as is Pacha’s wife in the movie.

When I do recognize the character, it increases my pleasure a million times. Like this one below. Hands down, my absolute FAVOURITE from the day I was there. It’s Garnet, from Steven Universe. As if you can’t tell with a split second glimpse. As if!

This is the best Garnet cosplay there ever was.
This is the best Garnet cosplay there ever was.
...I add the cartoon one to help you see my point.
…I add the cartoon one to help you see my point.
For lunch, Tara and I went to an Italian restaurant. I suppose it was obvious we would find these folks there too.
For lunch, Tara and I went to an Italian restaurant. I suppose it was obvious we would find these folks there too.

One thing I love about this convention is that it often catches innocent townspeople by surprise. They are usually delighted (sometimes scared), and pull out their phones to take pictures so that they can prove to the people at home that they really did see it. Kumoricon is across the street from Esther Short Park and the park becomes a logical place for the cosplayers to hang out and play games and eat lunch. Mario and Luigi (Mario videogames) might toss a volleyball with Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony) and Godzilla, and Spiderman might share a pizza with Naruto, and some Homestuck trolls. Local people will ride through on bikes, or stop at the Farmer’s Market – also held in the park – and their eyes widen with amazement.

These young people spend months putting their cosplays together, and will typically have a different one for each day, and often an extra for the “ball,” held after hours for 18+. When I wander through with my camera, they are eager to pose for a photo. They will stop in the midst of anything when I approach, and I think it’s because they see the photography as validation for everything they have done to prepare. Tara says there are a lot of complaints for when people take pictures without asking, so I always ask. But that’s my MO in any case. I try to get the pictures up on my flickr page as soon as possible, because these kids will hit their hotel rooms in the evening, and scan the Internet looking for pictures of themselves. During anime and comic conventions, my flickr views go up by thousands.

We live an hour away from the city now (Vancouver and Portland straddle the Columbia River), so Tara spent four days with friends of mine who live in Vancouver to make it easier to get back and forth. I was only able to make the trek once, so my photos are from a single wet day.

An artist from the artist's tent, which is open to the public.
An artist from the artist’s tent, which is open to the public.
This cosplayer's hat is a nest.
This cosplayer’s hat is a nest.
She seemed a little shy when I approached, with a voice so quiet I couldn't hear it, but honestly: who could doubt the bravery it took to wear this cosplay?
She was shy, with a voice so quiet I couldn’t hear it, but who could doubt the bravery it took to wear this cosplay?
Every year there is someone from Spy vs. Spy. Do you remember those old comics?
Every year there is someone from Spy vs. Spy. Do you remember those old comics?
Aren't they wonderful? I interrupted them while they were jumping off rocks and trying to get photos that made them look like they were flying!
Aren’t they wonderful? I interrupted them while they were jumping off rocks and trying to get photos that made them look like they were flying!
From Gravity Falls
From Gravity Falls
Playing in the waterfall
Playing in the waterfall
Check out her hooves!!
Check out her hooves!!
Cinderella and the Prince
Cinderella and the Prince

18 thoughts on “Kumoricon 2015

  1. I never understood the anime attraction, maybe because I’m old. 🙂 (I was born old) My daughter and grandnieces love it. I can see how playing dress up can be something to share with one another that is good clean fun. Loved all the photos you got. It’s kind of like Halloween with a theme. My daughter is thinking about her Halloween costume already. 🙂 We did do that growing up either. I think I missed a lot.

    1. Halloween is my favourite holiday of them all, so hearing that you missed celebrating them makes me sad. Yes, an opportunity to dress up is a joy for so many kids, and I was one of them.

      “Good, clean, fun” is also how I view these gatherings. There has been some criticism of the apparent sexuality of some of the women’s costumes. However, the critics are obviously not very close to the anime community, or they would have critiqued someone other than the cosplayers. The way they dress is so much about art and craft skills and being authentic to the spirit of the character. I am a person who is *very* sensitive to unwanted gestures, and I find it to be instead a supportive environment for these kids.

      1. Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I could easily ignore it completely but my daughter and son love it. She is already working on her costume. Me, I’m working on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Is there anything else?

      2. I’m not all that fond of Thanksgiving either. It’s always been a lot of work for me. The last few years, my daughter and I sometimes go out for dinner together and call it good. Easter was hit and miss. After the kids were all gone, we just didn’t bother with it anymore. Christmas is my all out holiday. It was for my mother too. I think, like you, it’s what you get used to culturally. I’ve invited my niece and her family to thanksgiving so it will be noisy and crowded and I’ll be grateful when it’s over. 🙂 T.S. has a birthday just before so we celebrate thanksgiving for him. :))

    1. Oh Jenny that is so neat! You sure do get involved in a lot of activities. The fun thing about these conventions is the special guests and panels. I wouldn’t know any of the anime celebrities (typically artists, voice actors, and creators of series), but I would know the comic celebrities better. My co-worker goes to the one in Portland every year. Last year there was a Goonies panel, with several of the original actors, including Sean Astin, who apparently was having a blast with fans and didn’t want to stop when the time ran out for the panel. How cool is that?

      1. That’s awesome. I heard the Goonies house closed down or quit letting people near it because of the crowds or something. You went by last year and I thought of you when I saw that.

  2. Most of the characters you mention completely escape and mystify me – but my goodness, even so i can appreciate the amazing amount of creative detail that has gone into the costumes. What wonderful fun – it is great to see a new generation enjoying dress ups!! 🙂 Your photos are a wonderful record.

    1. Oh thank you! Yes, I have to admit that most of the characters in this realm are beyond me. I have had a teenager in the house, educating me, and that’s why I know as many as I do. But you are right: one does not have to know the character to be able to recognize how great the cosplays are!

      These conventions (animecons and comicons) are getting massive, with thousands of attendees at each of them in cities across the U.S. It seems like playing dress up is inspiring many of today’s youth (and let’s not forget the young at heart). I agree with you that it is great to see.

    1. Sarah I was thinking of you when I put this together. It is a specialized area of interest and I know you are one of my blogger friends who is more familiar with this stuff. I am glad you enjoyed the photos!

      1. Thanks Crystal. One day I might be able to go to one of these events myself but in the mean-time photos like yours keep me going. 😀 The closest I’ve got to it is wearing those cat’s ears that reflect your emotional state – have you seen those? Cute but noisy and not very comfy!

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